What Does “Doers of the Word” Mean?

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.” (James 1:22-24)

What do you suppose James meant when he said “be doers of the word?” The most common answer is that he meant obedience to the Bible. This common view states that what James meant was do what the Bible says to do, put the moral commands of Scripture into practice. Ligonier Ministries suggests this is the proper interpretation by saying,

“We read in verse 22 that we are to ‘be doers of the word and not hearers only.’ When we look at the Word of God we must look at it with an eye to putting the Word into practice in our lives. Listening to the Word and knowing what it says is not enough if our lives are not changed as a result. For if we only hear the Word of God and never put it into practice, we have deceived ourselves (v. 22).”

This raises a couple of questions in my mind. First, James was probably one of the earliest New Testament letters written which means that the canon of Scripture that we often refer to as the Word of God didn’t exist yet. If James’ letter was among the earliest of the New Testament letters, his was one of the first of many more to follow. Did James mean “be doers of the Bible” before there was a Bible? I doubt it. Or because there was no Bible yet, maybe he meant “be doers of the Old Covenant Law.” I doubt that too. The recipients of his letter were Jewish and a mixture of believers and unbelievers who were familiar with the Old Covenant law of Moses and its requirements for perfect obedience. They had lived under that empty obligation all their lives. They didn’t need to be told something they already knew so well. I doubt James would say “be doers of the Law” to a group of people who already knew that requirement and were hearing the good news that they were no longer under the law.

Continue reading “What Does “Doers of the Word” Mean?”
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Clash of the Covenants: A Book Review

Clash of the Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee by Michael C. Kapler (2018)

It’s not an easy task to find a good read on the differences between the Old and New Covenants that isn’t influenced or tarnished by denominational, traditional, or religious  bias and preconceptions. But I finally found one in Clash of the Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through the Grace Guarantee by Michael C. Kapler.

In my opinion, Kapler successfully (and brilliantly) illustrates the dangers involved in failing to recognize that the Old and New Covenants don’t mix, were never intended to be mixed, and the Old Covenant has been done away by the New and the Law of Moses has no role in a believer’s life today. He does this in a warm, informal, and easy-to-read style that draws us in and keeps our attention. For example, he accurately notes, “… a mixed concoction of the two covenants together will lead to a diluted message of what was accomplished for us at the cross.” He goes on to add, “Quite often the starting point for covenant confusion is not realizing the Old was made obsolete, removed completely, and replaced with something New.”

Clash of the Covenants is organized into three main parts:

  • Part 1: Covenant Confusion
  • Part 2: Covenants Collide
  • Part 3: Covenant Conclusion

In each section, the author gives us examples which clearly illustrate his point. Here are a few short quotes to give you the flavor of the book and to whet your appetite for more of the same:

“The Mosaic law could not bring forgiveness of sins, life, or freedom and was never meant to be mixed with what could bring us these blessings.”

“Christians have been on a works treadmill for centuries by mistakenly trying to abide in the works of that law, or a modernized version of it. Since the law was against us, the result was bearing fruit for death instead of fruit for God. But Paul’s good news for his Jewish friends who had been bound to the law is they were now released or freed from it.”

“Religion has taught the covenants as though they were two ships that are in sync, but this mixture becomes more like a sinking ship that leaves people in doubt and fending for themselves while being driven and tossed by the wind and the waves.”

As you read this book you’ll find Clash of the Covenants gives us a refreshing grace-centered conversation about topics such as the Law, the 10 Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, The Lord’s Prayer, forgiveness of sin, confession of sin, repentance, tithing, and the new heart, all from a grace-centered, New Covenant point of view.

In my Amazon review of Clash of the Covenants, I called it refreshing and the best-kept secret on Amazon. That was after reading the Kindle version in 2017. Now that the paperback version is available, I am thrilled to see it gaining in popularity. This book is a must read because it puts redemptive history in perspective by recognizing the glory of the New Covenant over the Old and pointing us to Jesus and the grace of God alone. In Kapler’s words, “God is not your parole officer, He broke you out of prison.”

Clash of the Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through the Grace Guarantee, Copyright 2018, Michael C. Kapler. 230 pages.

About the Author

Michael C. Kapler works in the communications industry and has a 20 year background in Christian radio. Since 2005, he has co-hosted the Growing in Grace Podcast, along with Joel Bueseke. This is one of our favorite podcasts!


My wife and I interviewed Mike and Joel on our Grace Cafe Podcast in March of 2018. For your convenience, here’s that interview: